A recent howl from Michigan by friend John Wolf. It speaks for itself:
I realized 3 weeks ago that my nephew’s 7th birthday is the end of this month. I also drew a complete blank on what to send him. Luckily, my brother left me a message a couple of days later saying that he had finished refurbishing the ground floor apartment in their house (hurricane Katrina was not kind to it) and Louie had been his helper. I thought, “That boy needs a saw! and probably a drill! And something to keep them in!”. So I rummaged through my surplus tool supplies, and found a small crosscut saw that had been sharpened away considerably, and cut it down to about 14″ (shaped to the London pattern, which I like for no particular reason). I made a small handle of cherry for it, and it turned out to be a pretty nice saw that could be of use to him even as an adult. Then I cleaned up and repaired what turns out to be a pretty good egg beater drill, and a brace from a long ago boys toolbox, small but useable. I provided a good selection of bits for both. Found I had a block plane that was useable, but really made for a “toy” toolbox, and blunted the iron – he’s only 7, after all. There are some other odds and ends too.
I had some 1x8s that had knot free sections long enough to make a 10 x 22 x 8 chest, roughly 1/8 the size of my carpenter’s chest, then made a sliding till with drawers, on the theory that kids like to poke around in drawers. I had hoped to mount the saw under the lid, but the till is just a hair too wide for that, so it mounts to the inside front and a square that belonged to Grandpa Wolf is on the lid. I left appropriate notes with explanations and instructions inside, and packed it tight inside with Big Little Books that had belonged to my brother, which will leave the two of them to argue over their ownership. Then I sent it off to New Orleans.
A lot of the motivation was the pleasure of making it. In a few years, that kind of gift will fall pretty flat, and I’ll fall back on gift cards. But more important to me is the wish that he grow up with the feel of tools in his hands, and if it’s not the rich, powerful experience that I feel, it will at least feel normal and a matter of course. I’d also like him to grow up with the thought in his head that people do and make things. If he goes beyond that to try to add some grace and beauty to the world, so much the better. It will be interesting to see what catches his fancy and who he becomes.
Wish I could go to your riving and hurdle making class, that would be very interesting.
We’d love to see a picture of Louie and the tool box, John.
And thanks for the segue…
BYPASS THE LUMBERYARD…
(just don’t tell Gurney’s and Copeland’s)
How about some green woodworking with Peter Follansbee this Columbus Day weekend?
Plymouth CRAFT has several openings left in a 2-day workshop all about riving green wood and learning the steps along the way to turn trees into hurdles-
Wood theory will lead to riving which will lead to hatchet and drawknife work and assembly of mortises and tenons. Registration includes 2 days of the best lunches you’ll ever eat made by the renowned Paula Marcoux as well as an expert tour of the Harlow Old Fort House (which happens to full of interesting original artifacts made using the techniques under study in this workshop).
Get thee to Plymouth CRAFT posthaste to secure your spot: www.plymouth.org